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Rumor: Tampa Bay Rays are in on Josh Harrison

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PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 17: Josh Harrison #5 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws to first base to force out Ben Zobrist #18 of the Chicago Cubs in the first inning during the game at PNC Park on August 17, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 17: Josh Harrison #5 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws to first base to force out Ben Zobrist #18 of the Chicago Cubs in the first inning during the game at PNC Park on August 17, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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It has been reported that the Tampa Bay Rays are interested in utility man Josh Harrison.

Jon Heyman of Fancred recently reported that the Tampa Bay Rays are among 5 teams that are interested in former Pirate utility man Josh Harrison.

Harrison, a two-time all-star and plus defender fits the Rays motto of versatility. Harrison is a right-handed hitter with a little pop who can play either of the corner outfield positions, and at second or third.

In 2018, Harrison hit .250/.293/.363 with 8 homers in 97 games after missing time with a fractured bone in his hand. Like their most recent addition, Avisail Garcia, Harrison is only year removed from an all-star campaign in which he hit .272/.339/.432 with 16 bombs and 12 stolen bases.

2014 was the best year of his career. That season he finished 9th in MVP voting after hitting .315/.347/.490 with 13 homers and 18 stolen bases.

He broke into the bigs with Pirates in 2011 and has been a mainstay in Pittsburgh ever since. He is a career .277 hitter with 52 bombs. He has compiled 11.2 fWAR since his debut.

2018 marked the last year of his 4 year / 27.3M extension he signed with the Pirates in 2015. To say they got their money’s worth would be an understatement. In terms of dollar value, Harrison was worth roughly 20M in excess value over the course of the extension.

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He would bring some added experience to a young Rays clubhouse as he has played on 3 playoff teams. I like the fact that the Rays are interested in adding Harrison, but it would mean that someone in the already crowded infield would have to go. Duffy, perhaps would be the odd man out and Harrison and Robertson would share the third base duty.

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This could also point to the idea that they are expecting to send one of the aforementioned infielders to Miami in a package to acquire J.T. Realmuto. I wouldn’t rule anything out at this point. You can never have to many Zobrist-like players on your roster at one time. The Rays love to maximize the output from their 25 man roster and Harrison could really help them do so.

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